By Tisha S. Leung for Home Sweet Solutions
Surely we all fantasize about having a special room for laundry, but many of us probably don’t have the luxury of an extra room to devote solely for this purpose and need to consider how to fit a laundry center in a small space. Don’t underestimate the usefulness of a simple, well-organized laundry center — even if it’s as small as a laundry closet.
Think of the most important components when designing your small-space laundry center. It may consist of having basic storage, ease of getting to the washer and dryer, sorting and presorting capabilities, places to hang fabrics and a folding surface. Also, think through what you would like to have immediately at hand — on your right, to your left and above you — as you move around.
Consider how you use the space:
Is the detergent convenient to grab when you need it?
- Do you need an ironing board or drying rack?
- Would you like a place to stow loose change and items from pants pockets?
- Do you need to store products such as stain lifters, bleach or dryer sheets?
Select the Right Laundry Machines and Storage
The first thing to consider when designing your laundry center is the amount of floor space you have to work with. Most appliance manufacturers offer smaller-sized, side-by-side washer and dryers; but if you don’t have enough square footage, look for stackable units, which often come in a variety of colors, have sleek designs and are typically front loading models. Whichever configuration you go with, make sure you can back up 48 inches to open a front-loading door.
For laundry storage to stow detergents and other laundry cleaning products, and accessories such as irons or a place to stow loose items, a good space-saving option for limited floor space is to rise vertically with either stacking cabinets or a tall cabinet with multiple shelving units. Deeper shelves with drawer units on sliders will allow you to store more, as well as reach items in the back more easily.
Use Wall Space When Floor Space Is Limited
Another configuration to consider for your small space laundry center is to use your wall for floating laundry shelves or cabinets that run horizontally above side-by-side machines. Wall space can also take on the task of hanging wet or dry clothes, with hooks, pegs or a rod with hangers. There is a variety of laundry drying racks designed to hang on the wall that collapse and expand on themselves. Having them near the washer and dryer helps in the sorting process.
Organize Your Laundry Center
Having a sorting and presorting system in your small-space laundry center will make doing this task more efficient.
- Consider using plastic laundry baskets, which can be stored within each other and placed under or on top of a folding table to save space.
- Pullout baskets on rails installed under a table can act as hampers for soiled clothes, and hanging laundry bags on wall hooks conserves space.
- Another option is a rolling laundry cart stored underneath the tabletop. Rolling a cart around essential points is helpful when moving and sorting between washer and dryer. The cart acts as a holding bin during folding.
- A folding surface is the last basic component in an small, organized laundry center. Choose one that’s large enough to lay down a bath towel with room for one or two folded piles of clothes.
If you still have room left after laying out the basic essentials of your small-space laundry center, these additional items will enhance the space:
- A small sink is handy for hand-washing delicates and quick cleanups.
- If you have extra wall space, many compact ironing boards fold out from a wall in a half-size and fold back up behind a door when not in use.
Finally, you can never have too much counter space in your laundry center.
Tisha S. Leung is a writer and stylist focusing on design, fashion and social culture. She was formerly a decorating editor at Country Living and has contributed to Better Homes & Gardens Decorating, Home, DIY Channel and “Trading Spaces.” She currently writes and produces design stories for ShelterPop.com and CoolHunting.com.